US STOCKS rose yesterday as upbeat retail sales and other data pointed to a strengthening economy and lifted optimism about consumer spending.
Indexes ended well off their highs for the day, however, paring gains late in the session as Brent Crude oil settled down 0.9 per cent, putting a lid on energy shares, and as worries increased about a possible US government shutdown.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 63.19 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 17,596.34, the S&P 500 gained 9.19 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 2,035.33 and the Nasdaq Composite added 24.14 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 4,708.16.
Lending Club laid claim to the largest US tech IPO of 2014. The peer-to-peer lending platform saw its stock rocket 56 per cent higher to $23.43 in its first day of trading.
Still, lower oil prices likely encouraged consumer holiday spending, and November retail sales beat expectations.
Energy stocks, particularly companies that focus on remote drilling operations, ended higher. Diamond Offshore rose 3.4 per cent, Denbury Resources was up 1.1 per cent and the oil giant Exxon Mobil rose 1.3 per cent.
Retailers were among the day’s biggest percentage gainers on the S&P 500, including Urban Outfitters, up 7.6 per cent at $32.29. Staples jumped 8.7 per cent to $16.10 and Office Depot climbed 12.1 per cent to $7.54 after activist investor Starboard Value LP disclosed stakes in both office-supply retailers.